2022 Hyundai Venue N Line review, road test - is it really good to drive?
Who would have thought that by 2022 you could buy yourself a warmed-over mainstream SUV in India, and a compact SUV at that? But the i20 N Line has been a big success for Hyundai and it only made sense to expand the sportier line of N Line offerings to cover more of its popular models. The Hyundai Venue N line seems like a good next step, the standard Venue recently received a significant mid-life facelift and is one of the more popular sub-four-metre SUVs around.
Hyundai Venue N Line exteriors
On paper, the visual updates to the Hyundai Venue N Line seem like the usual do-over that these driver-themed variants receive in our country. But the effect is more convincing in the metal, largely due to the detailing that Hyundai has put into these changes. The grille isn't a straight lift from the standard Venue, the large chrome studs are more angular while there's a tasteful dark chrome finish to it. The bumper design is more aggressive too, with its angular shapes and ridges.
Hyundai has thrown as many N Line badges as it possibly could at the Venue N Line, so you have these fairly extravagant chrome, black and red badges on the grille, fenders and boot lid. The new alloy wheel design, the size remains unchanged, just gets an N logo in the centre cap, adding to the effect.
Also well done is all the red highlighting around the Venue N Line. You see this on the bumpers, the wheel cladding and roof rails. Again, there's restraint here but still enough to convey this SUV's sporty demeanour. Finally, there are the new exhaust tips which work as a good identifier for these N Line cars now. To round things off, you get a brighter range of colours with even this white shade working quite well with the contrasting black and red bits. The Venue was always a proportionate, well-stanced SUV and that is only amplified with these changes.
Hyundai Venue N Line interiors, features
The Hyundai Venue N Line gets all the new additions that came with the recent Venue facelift on the inside. So you have the slightly reworked dash design, the new 8-inch touchscreen with its connected-tech, Alexa and Google Assitant compatibility and ambient sounds. The digital LCD instrumentation has been carried over, but you don't get a tachometer with this new design, aside from the digital readouts. We think Hyundai could have reverted to a more legible analogue dial for the Venue N Line in keeping with this SUV's nature.
But of more interest are the changes made here specific to the Venue N Line. Like the outside, the all-black cabin is thoughtfully executed. The flashes of red on the climate controls, air vents, and seats, along with the red stitching do just enough to brighten up this space. The sunroof and carpets help with this, contrasted again by the black headlining. Another touch that makes this one of the more premium-feeling compact SUV cabins is the discreet red ambient lighting you get with the N Line, replacing the white in the standard Venue.
But the N Line-specific steering wheel and gear shifter do more than anything else in uplifting this cabin and adding to a sense of driver-centricity. The three-spoke N steering wheel is just the right size and shape with good contours. Even the curvature on the buttons, all physical, make them fall to touch easily and function with tactility. The paddle shifters too are different here, they are longer so are easier to hold and function again with satisfying clicks. The gear shifter too is well placed and again contoured to be easy and satisfying to use with its gripped surfaces repeated from the wheel.
The front seats are reasonably supportive and remain unchanged from the standard Venue. We found the new N Line upholstery to be a tad too firm though for our backs. The Venue was never an especially spacious car at the rear and that continues with the N Line. The all-black theme seems to accentuate this a touch even with the contrasting red highlight so the Venue is best used as a four-seater. But you do get the new reclining seats which means you can have the backrest at a comfortable angle.
A new feature addition is a two-way dashcam. It will be a useful feature on our unruly roads but its placement can sometimes impede vision.
Hyundai Venue N Line driving impressions
The Venue N Line gets a reworked ride and handling package with a 34 per cent increase in damping force. A different steering tune with a more weighted feel has been incorporated into this version. The exhaust note has also been spruced up via a new end can while there are rear disc brakes.
The engine is the same 1.0-litre turbo-petrol you find in the regular Venue but pairs only with a 7-speed DCT making 120PS and 172 Nm. The iMT from the i20 N Line has been dropped due to a lack of demand.
The changes that have been made to the Venue N Line are quite apparent as soon as you set off. The new steering, which feels so nice to hold, makes for a more direct connection with the car. It's probably not much more precise than the one in the standard Venue but there's a steady, weighted feel to it when driving in a straight line. It also weighs up in a pleasingly linear manner as you turn in, so even picking through traffic is a more engaging exercise. A feeling that will be amplified on a good driving road where around bends there's a greater sense of control.
It's a similar feeling from the new suspension tune. Yes, the stiffer damping does mean that potholes and undulations are more apparent but these bumps are still rounded off softly enough to not feel uncomfortable or take away from the driving experience. There's a more confident, planted feel to the way the Venue moves on the road. The N Line has the same ride height as the standard Venue, and being an SUV still, there is reasonable roll around corners. But the new suspension tune adds precision by feeling a touch more direct and surefooted when you turn in, making for a more engaging experience again.
And in all of this, the fruity exhaust note plays a larger part than you would think. It's a constant accompaniment and will sometimes even purr on downshifts. So there is always a sense of excitement while driving the Venue N line
The drivetrain has been left as is so functions in much the same way as the standard Venue. Like most turbo-petrol Hyundais, it's not very brisk off the line with the ESC limiting power on aggressive standing starts. But once on the move, the linear if slightly bland power delivery means that you are quickly doing good speeds. As before, this motor is not the most engaging turbo-petrol out there but is still quite effective.
It's the same with the DCT. In regular driving, it fades away into the background but will quickly be up to the task when asked for part-throttle downshifts. But we think generally Hyundai could have given the DCT a sharper tune for this iteration. It will still not give you a downshift above 3,000rpm through the paddles which seems to not quite gel with the feisty nature of the rest of the SUV.
Switching to the S gearbox mode helps make the Venue N Line feel a touch livelier, The gearbox will then hold revs right to the redline. But the Venue N Line isn't especially quicker than other small turbo SUVs as our tested 0 to 100 kmph time of 11.8s(wet) suggests. The gearbox also doesn't like full-bore kickdowns all that much although it is much more responsive to part throttle demands of performance.
In daily driving, you'll spend most of your time in Eco and Normal. There's not much to choose between these two modes and both are well-suited to sedate city and highway driving. The Sport mode amps up the sense of urgency with a sharper throttle pedal and slightly more steering heft, it doesn't make inputs too abrupt and is a good option for more spirited driving.
Hyundai Venue N Line price, verdict
Prices for the Hyundai Venue N Line start at Rs 12.16 lakh for the base N6, going up to 13.30 for the N8. So for just over Rs 70,000 more than an equivalent standard Venue, the N Line makes a lot of sense for you if you enjoy driving. It's one of those cars that eggs you on, and while we would have liked a livelier tune for the drivetrain, the changes that have been made genuinely work to make the Venue feel more direct and engaging. The more premium feeling cabin and the sharper looks are bonuses.
Hyundai Venue N Line real-world performance, mileage
0 to 100 kmph - 11.8s
30 to 50 kmph - 2.0s
50 to 70 kmph - 2.8s
60 to 80 kmph - 3.0s
100 to 0 kmph - 42.8m, 3.4s
City - 9.7 kmpl
Highway - 14.15 kmpl
Overall - 10.81 kmpl
Images by Vaibhav Dhanawade
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